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Oct 02

First Impression-Sports Talk With Anthony Bonelli And More

What is the meaning of impressionable; we often use this word when referring to the fact that children are easily influenced by their surroundings, and by the actions and teachings of the people in their lives. I often talk about how special it is to be a coach, because my duty as a coach is to help a group of individuals achieve a common goal by working together as a team. As someone who is very goal oriented, I am always trying to create and achieve new goals. I decided that I wanted to become an Educational Speaker, which is someone who educates and motivates a group of individuals, my reason for wanting to do this is, because I want to inspire people to not give up on their aspirations and dreams, even when people doubt whether they will be able to accomplish them.

Last week, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak to the students at Oxford Central School, in Oxford New Jersey. As I prepared my three presentations, one for first through third grade, another for fourth through sixth grade, and lastly one for seventh and eighth grade, so many emotions were going through my head, nervousness, because someone once told me if you are not nervous that means you don’t care excitement, because of the new challenge, and fear, because I was scared about whether I would connect with the impressionable minds of the younger generation.

It was time for the first of my presentations, as the Principal introduced me, I felt a certain type of connection with the children sitting in the gymnasium, and even though I am a journalist I cannot put it into words. As I started to speak, I could feel myself starting to realize, that I was just having a conversation with children who were very attentive and interested in hearing about how I overcame the challenges I faced, and still face while still trying to accomplish the goals I set out to achieve At the conclusion of my presentation to the first through third graders, the Principal and the School Psychologist came up to me and said that I did a phenomenal job, and that they could not wait to hear my remaining presentations.

Wednesday morning it was time for me to speak to the fourth, fifth, and sixth graders, prior to leaving my house, I read some very sad news, Yogi Berra began his second life on Tuesday night, this caused my eyes to fill up with tears, because Mr. Berra was influential in me becoming part of the journalism profession. I was able to pull myself together for the sole reason that I knew I had a group of children that needed to be inspired by my story. As I told my story I thought of Mr. Berra, and became a little emotional, because without his generosity I would not have been sitting in the gymnasium of Oxford Central School inspiring children. I encourage you to read Life Changer, a blog which details my relationship with Mr. Berra. In order to keep myself from getting too emotional during my presentation, I asked the children who were so engaged and engaging to tell me what the definitions of certain words that I used in my presentation were, such as determination, and motivation. As good as I felt after my presentation on Monday, I felt even better after Wednesday’s presentation, the true sign of growth.

It was now time for the true meaning of a new challenge as the next day I would be speaking to the seventh and eighth graders; this is a specified age group that I had never presented to before, so I was slightly more nervous. As I prepared to take on this new challenge, I knew I would have to do something creative to connect with this age group, so what I decided to do was this, I asked the group who was afraid of public speaking, some of the students in the group raise their hands reluctantly, probably because they did not know why I was asking what they most likely perceived to be an odd question. I then asked the staff in their room to choose one of the students, the student who was chosen walked up to the front of the gymnasium very tentatively. I asked the student if she was nervous about what I was going to ask her to do, she cautiously said sort of, I responded by asking her if she knew everyone in the gymnasium, her eyes lit up and she said yes, I immediately responded by saying then what are you nervous about, she said I don’t know? My reason for conducting the experiment was to show the rest of the students that if one of their fellow classmates can overcome their fears they can as well.

They say life is about first impressions: well it was my honor to speak to the children at Oxford Central School I hope years from now at least one of the students I had the pleasure to speak to takes what I said to heart, and I hope that student chases his or her dreams and does not let anyone stop them from turning their dreams into reality!